ONE POEM – Siobhan Ward

Its big head, glassy stare
and halting hobble 
from random ewe to ewe 
made me think of you –

TWO POEMS – DS Maolalai

they sit on the bridge. they cluster
as close as the round bulbs
of road-swollen blackberries,
dusty with travel.

ONE POEM – Olivia Heggarty

Cutting my hair with the meat scissors,
being told off for not using a hairdresser,
explaining that if I don’t change something

often I will do something worse

Three from Color Wheel — Salvatore Difalco

Underscoring the onset of nausea on the pier, feelings of self-loathing
also bubble up to the surface. “I get seasick in the bathtub, man,”
declares a ponytailed dude in Plymouth pink.

Radio Music Magic – Paul Sasges

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul. ‘Caravan’, Van Morrison, 1970 The transistor radio came out between the vacuum tube in the fifties and the Walkman in the seventies. I spent many hours on our braided area rug prone upon my…

My Mother’s Quilt – Clare Reddaway

This is my mother’s quilt, but many other women have had a hand in it. It was started by my mother in the 1950s, and she made it for most of my life, in admittedly rather a desultory fashion. I remember her sitting on a freezing, pebbly beach in Suffolk, with the grey North Sea…

TWO POEMS – Janet McCann

Something Lives Something lives in the crawl spaceAbove my room.  A bird? Maybe a rat?Sometimes it seems to be shaking out its feathers.But then there’s a scrabbling overheadAnd the squares of insulation quiver. I’m not afraid of you, I tell the shaking panels.We all have the right to be.And I will not pursue you with…

Tea for a Pandemic – Terry Kirts

1. My grandmother was a kitchen singer, an apron wearer who trilled the rs and drew out the tra-la-las in all the old songs while she kneaded bread dough or blanched tomatoes. Some days growing up, I spent more time in her windswept farmhouse outside of town than I did in my own home, my…

ONE POEM – Constance von Igel

Brazil has 27 administrative regions, and we found 
The strongest evidence of your ancestry, 
In the following 10 regions. 

ONE POEM – Sofia Lyall

I find the roots of an oak (dead, upturned, twisted)
and am left more disoriented than before.

The Sea People — Euan Currie

I often fantasise about tipping the cabinet forward until the plastic drawers slide out and spill their contents in a wave of plastic. I tell myself they should be recycled or reused. But in the fantasy it all just spills out and keeps on spilling.

Mesoamerican Triptych – William Fleeson

Pérado I. Pérado stretched over its one paved road, the village elongated to avoid the mud of the side streets. Haitians called out Blan! – “White man!” – wanting attention or a cash handout or, failing the former, cash alone. I stopped for lunch at a roadside shack. They had rice and chicken and pikliz…

The Other Half-Orphan – Thomas Stewart

I was not the first. I knew that when it happened. But you feel like the only one it’s happening to. Because it’s happening to you, and there’s only one you. My father died when I was 23. He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in July and died in February the next year. For the…

The Ache for Home – Sally Gander

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we areand not be questioned. Maya Angelou The box room where I was staying was dark, always dark. The window let in only a sliver of light and the lamp cast a weak pool of yellow over dark-painted…

Lord of the Ocean – Aneeta Sundararaj

“China is going to take over our world,” my friend declared. Unlikely to happen! I didn’t say the words aloud, though, for this man’s convictions were delivered with such ferocity that any meaningful debate was impossible. Rumour had it that he believed that every country was doomed to inevitable failure unless it bowed down to…

ONE POEM – Kira Scott

these are the tears that we cannot shed
as we comment on the beauty of the glen and
how wonderful it must have been to live in such a place.

TWO POEMS – Tim Kiely

the cake is made of Walthamstow
a dense and glutinous Walthamstow
we are going to make Walthamstow
a Titanic success for Walthamstow

Back Home in Old Kentucky – Bailey Vandiver

Kentucky governor Happy Chandler once said Kentuckians are always either coming home or thinking about coming home. On the day that tornadoes devastated my home state, I was longing to be home. It was December 11, 2021, and I woke up in a New York City hotel room to the news that tornadoes had ripped…

Scheherazade — Lydia Waites

He studies me for a second before facing the road again, his jaw set. My breath is caught in my throat. I clear it, arranging my thoughts. It was just an outburst, a loss of patience: I am safe. 

ONE POEM – Hideko Sueoka

Bright rays reflect, shape, shake her portrait on the water skin
      and it’s broken, burnt, soon gone.

ONE POEM — Matthew Moniz 

But Jesus never saved the birds. A bird
has never sinned. They have no need for grace,
salvation, guilt, contrition, holy words,

ONE POEM — Toby Jackson

But Krakow, why am I in Krakow looking for size eight shoes
following a strolling man with a hand-shaped dent in his hat?

When Will My Sense of Linear Time Come Back From the War? – Nat Guest

Time’s gone weird, hasn’t it? Hasn’t time gone weird? I’m really struggling with it at the moment. I don’t know what day it is. I’m not sure whether it’s day. It’s 2023 next year. It’s still March 2020. It’s the dead zone between Christmas and New Year. It’s been Wednesday for months. I’ll be dead…

ONE POEM — Renwick Berchild

I am a maze of swinging doors.
Catch me, I’ll fall. Feel my ink.
Lost in the torn pelt of my wounds,
I’ve dabbled in sores and spirits.

ONE POEM – William Doreski

Dried for sale, sea stars remind you
that we haven’t seen the Atlantic 
breathing heavily along a beach
for a couple of plague-struck years.